Leadership and the traditional expectations of leaders for being the source of all the answers have been core to creating a closed-loop value creation system.
Directors, CEOs, and broader leadership teams focused on growing and enabling others! Can we agree that the widely accepted premise is that value creation can come from any source? Yet, there is an ever-present observed cultural business expectation that the leadership team’s expertise and accumulated knowledge are sufficient to solve critical challenges and expose new opportunities.
So why do businesses express an open value creation system but operate within a closed one?
What happens if we fail to recognise this?
For organisations that continue to cycle through the challenges of today, strategically mandated but operationally focused, it’s a recipe for more of the same, the management meeting agenda, a virtual copy and paste of previously discussed topics, time and time again, without meaningful action or progress.
Engagement across all levels of the business is low when working in this mode, traction is limited, growth is impaired, and in many cases, good people leave, and opportunities missed. Paired with a leadership culture that fosters the expectation of answers from within, we’ve got a perfectly closed loop.
We need to look outside, seek to understand, and shift the expectation on the leadership team not to have all the answers but instead have the capacity, flexibility, and support to invest in the pursuit of them.
Reflect on these questions.
When did we last:
- Engage the broader team in solving the strategic challenges?
- Seek objective, external strategic advice?
- Validate the value created and the problem we’re solving for customers?
- Collaborate with those with whom we may compete?
- Develop strategic partnerships?
- Create capacity and mechanisms for the leadership team to focus on the bigger picture?
- Develop organisational systems that capture and foster value creation?
We repeatedly hear a phrase in a strategic context, “You don’t know what you don’t know”, and it’s thrown around, almost like an excuse or explanation.
But, of course, this regularly applies to those not actively seeking outside knowledge and engaging perspectives.
Those who understand that they can’t effectively know actively enough invest in engaging those who do.
The action required to break the closed loop is explicit, establishing an environment of curiosity and engagement that acknowledges the need to get outside the echo chamber of the day-to-day, unlocking a closed system to open and expose the new and untapped value.